Emirates now offers free inflight WiFi in business, first class

Emirates now offers free inflight WiFi in business, first class

Emirates is shaking up its inflight Internet plans to include "unlimited free WiFi" for business class and first class passengers, although the service will cost more if you're sitting in economy.

The Gulf carrier previously gave all passengers 10MB of free access to its satellite Internet system, with each additional 500MB of data available for just US$1.

While this generous arrangement proved very popular with travellers – Emirates is said to have some 750,000 people connecting every month – the downside is that the available bandwidth is quickly gobbled up so that the connection becomes almost unusable until the bulk of passengers log off to watch a movie, eat or sleep.

This changes as of June 14, 2017, with a spokesperson for Emirates confirming to Australian Business Traveller a revised pricing scheme as follows:

  • economy passengers will now get 20MB of free WiFi to sate their immediate social media needs, although this has to be used without two hours of their connecting
  • business class and first class passengers who are also members of Emirates Skywards frequent flyer scheme will receive unlimited free WiFi by entering their Skywards membership number at the login screen
  • economy passengers will be able to buy an additional 150MB of WiFi for US$9.99 (A$13.50) with a meatier 500MB priced at US$15.99 (A$22)

If you're travelling in Emirates first class and business class cabins but don't belong to Skywards, you'll have to pay the same rates as those in economy – while you can sign up to Skywards on the spot, your membership won't be recognised until your next Emirates flight (your Qantas Frequent Flyer number gets no recognition here).

Given that Skywards is free to join, it makes sense to sign up right away if you have an Emirates flight coming up.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • sgb


    2 Jun, 2017 10:38 am

    marvelous news.
    No member give thanks

  • J S


    2 Jun, 2017 01:21 pm

    It's only good if you can get a usable connection speed. On the majority of flights I've had with Emirates, that impossible.
    Members who gave thanks

    David, iM

  • traveller99


    2 Jun, 2017 06:39 pm

    I agree.  The Wi-Fi is useless.  I flew Sydney to Dubai, then Dubai to London (different planes).  Both flights the Wi-Fi was utterly useless on a laptop or tablet.  Only the most basic email usage on my phone worked (ie not attachments in or out).
    Member who gave thanks


  • Dec540


    2 Jun, 2017 08:35 pm

    I believe the idea is that instead of 400+ pax having 10mb, plus a significant amount paying $1 for another 500mb (grinding the system to a halt), you have 60+ pax using the connection for free, with a small amount paying the increased fees. 

    The result is that less people share the connection. Those using it can then get greater speeds and a more usable connection. 
    No member give thanks

  • moa999


    2 Jun, 2017 02:11 pm

    But increasing the price for economy pax for 500Mb from $1 to $16 should help reduce demand
    No member give thanks

  • Nathan Burgess


    2 Jun, 2017 02:24 pm

    So would your Emirates Skywards frequent flyer need to be associated with your business and first ticket?  Some people would have their own airline FF program on the ticket. 
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  • Alex_upgrade


    2 Jun, 2017 03:24 pm

    Good point but I doubt it
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  • Brackenboy


    7 Jun, 2017 05:46 pm

    The article says " (your Qantas Frequent Flyer number gets no recognition here)".
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  • mern2001


    5 Jun, 2017 06:42 pm

    I was wondering the same thing as Nbrugess31. I am flying on an EK flight to DXB, but the flight number has the QF tag and my FF scheme is listed as QF on the booking. While I am a member of Skywards, I think that my booking needs to have the Skywards number linked with it rather than my QF FF number. So, I may miss out of the free internet..
    No member give thanks

  • James Barker

    James Barker

    6 Jun, 2017 09:46 am

    A very smart move by Emirates, rewarding those travellers who are serious customers and pay the higher fares by giving them not only free Internet but a usable service.
    No member give thanks

  • aggie57


    7 Jun, 2017 06:27 pm

    interesting. How, I wonder, will the system will know if you're in economy or business?  Seems to suggest they can link the system to the passenger manifest, else do you simply need to enter a non-economy seat number or some such thing?  I can't imagine they have the ability to physically separate access when an economy passenger can be seated immediately behind someone in business. 
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  • BrisbanePE


    7 Jun, 2017 08:11 pm

    They don't need to know if you are in Econ or Business, they will use the Skywards login to determine that.
    No member give thanks

  • fatty


    7 Jul, 2017 08:44 am

    Correct - it appears that it will use your Skywards number and match it to the booking. I use my QF number on EK so looks like I'll be missing out. There must be a better way?
    No member give thanks

  • CQ

    MEL Traveller

    15 Sep, 2017 03:09 pm

    I found out the hard way on a flight last night that you have to be on an Emirates ticket to get the free internet. I was in Business on a QF ticket and when I entered my Skywards number it said it wasn't associated with a ticket on this flight and I should sign in as a guest. So for me this is a bg downgrade from the old $1 for 500 MB. 
    No member give thanks


20 Jul, 2019 10:06 pm


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